“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23)
We’ve all been there:
You’re doing so well avoiding temptation and sin. You're careful. You watch where you go and who you spend time with. You watch your habits and patterns.
Then, suddenly, “it” seems to come out of nowhere and overwhelms you. When you give in to sin, you feel so helpless. I did it again, you think.
This is something every believer has gone through. We all sin, but it starts with temptation. There are ways we can prevent sin and remove temptation from our lives.
Plain and simple, we MUST stop sin at the source. We have to eliminate temptation from our lives. This prevents it from growing any further. Take some time to reflect on where your temptation is coming from. Perhaps it’s certain apps or websites, maybe a certain show, or perhaps it builds when you hang out with a certain guy or girl in compromising situations.
Whatever your situation is, the Bible is very clear on how we are to deal with sin. Jesus teaches us in Matthew Chapter 18 verses 8-9 that “[i]f your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (NIV). It’s easier to turn away from temptation if we keep it far away, that’s why we must cast away anything that tempts us. Sin is vicious and intense, so we must be even more ruthless and determined when fighting it.
This is often easier said than done; however, there are a few things you can do to make this easier. Here are some tips:
• Spend some time focusing on when and where the temptation strikes and adjust accordingly. This is like game-planning in sports or strategizing in war. Know your weaknesses and how the Enemy will attack you.
• Replace bad habits with good ones. For example, replace spending time on tempting apps or websites with spending time in the Word. Instead of listening to secular music, listen to some worship music. Etc.
• Try keeping a small journal to document when and where you feel tempted and the ways you turn from it, in this way you are able to document your growth and what works best for you.
• Don’t fight alone. Create a support system of friends who hold you accountable. If you are able, try going to someone you trust and explain what you’re struggling with. Then, formulate a plan of accountability and growth. This can be accomplished in many ways, from using website filtering software such as covenenteyes.com to checking in with one another at the end of the day. Find what works for you and build from there.
Remember, thieves do not steal from empty houses. The Enemy sees what you are capable of and wants to do everything that he can to stop you. However, there is nothing that can overcome the goodness and love of God. Keep fighting the good fight. Freedom awaits you.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23)